What Should You Do If You Did Not Apply For a New gTLD?
For all companies who did not apply for a gTLD, the time is now to start planning. You need to first and foremost understand all brands in you category who did apply and determine what they might be doing as a critical competitive analysis. Consider these questions:
Do you know which of your competitors applied for a gTLD?
Do you know when your competitors will launch their gTLDs?
Have you thought out about what they might do with it?
Have you considered vendors or related companies that serve you and what they might do with their gTLDs?
Do you know how this will affect your organic search?
Have you considered how consumers will respond if .brands become more trusted than .com?
Do you know how your data analytics programs will change as a result of gTLDs?
Should you be reserving your brands in category related gTLds?
Should you be acquiring or partnering with any other applicants?
Do you know how your consumers may respond?
Will this impact social media and how your followers use Facebook or other social media?
These are all questions that will be impacted by the launch of the new gTLDs. The impact will begin mid-to-late summer when the first IDNs (internationalized domain names) start to go live. If your business is global, you may want to consider the IDNS and consider reserving your company name in Chinese, Japanese, Arabic or Russian. In the fourth quarter of this year and into early 2014, the big generics and a few brands will start to go live. When this happens, you should have your plan of attack in place. Which generics do you want for your brand? You need to ensure you put your trademarks into the Trademark Clearinghouse to have priority opportunities to secure your domain name as these IDNs and generics go live. How do you get prepared? A strategic planning process is needed. A few basic steps include:
Analyze your current data
What key words are critical to finding you?
Are there gTLD applications for those key words?
Digital Mapping of your brand
Where do you fit with competitors, vendors and customers?
Strategic planning with key stakeholders
Throw out old assumptions
Break down silos
Innovate to become a market leader
Select domains names of interest
Identify brands for partnership opportunities
Plot timeline for availability of new domains and participate in Landrush periods
Meet with applicants to discuss plans and explore partnerships
ROI of Trademark Clearinghouse & Sunrise periods
Are your trademarks in order?
Participate in targeted sunrise periods
Bolster monitoring and develop economies of scale for market analytics use of brand monitoring data
Integrate social media, app and mobile technology plans with domain names and be prepared for changes in search and navigation into a holistic digital strategy.
Evaluate consumer shifts and monitor leading brand TLDs to continually evolve.
If you had a heads up that .com would explode in the early 1990s or social media would transform our world in the last ten years, would you have planned your business differently? Be prepared for the next generation of the internet by gathering information and planning for success. If you wait, you may lose the domain names you want.